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A2Z Art Gallery Hong Kong – Organicum – Cultura – Imbibere – Emeric Chantier
June 29 @ 12:00 pmJuly 19 @ 8:00 pm HKT
A2Z Art Gallery presents the inaugural solo exhibition in Hong Kong by Émeric Chantier. Through his extensive study in his unique media the artist practices sculpting human, animal and botanical forms to investigate nature and humanity.
An immobile figure, appearing as if it is a living being, embodied with soul, sitting peacefully in the Seiza position, unpacks Chantier’s investigation into ancient Japanese culture. The figure displays the characteristics of both femininity and masculinity.
Courtesy and Apology are the two specific values held in the highest regard in Japanese culture that the Seiza position illustrates and upholds through its practice. Émeric Chantier’s recent work produced during an artist in residence for the Biwako Biennale 2018, articulates the mea culpas ever present in humanity. The symbiosis applied by the artist instigates an emphasis of introspective feeling, a perception any gracious man or woman must feel in relation to the future of nature.
Seiza translates to “sitting with correct posture” it was considered to be a more vulnerable sitting position in ancient Japanese culture as opposed to the warriors preferred Agura sitting position; to sit with crossed legs, a more relaxed position, allowing warriors to more easily draw their swords when required, therefore strengthening advantage toward survival and success. Proper and formal sitting positions were not agreed upon until the seiza position gained popularity in parallel to the rise in popularity of tea ceremonies during the Muromachi period, subsequently becoming a formality when attending social gatherings.
A body of 10 new works selected for this exhibition extends Émeric Chantier’s study of Asian culture. Imitation Jingdezhen Chinese blue and white and Old Imari (Ko-Imari) style Japanese porcelain vases endeavour to house the synthetic and organic, botanical constructs are unable to contain the expanding natural form. The artist’s creations are able to enrapture the essence of nature’s boundless energy. In time, nature evolves overpowering human creation. Chinese elm trees [Bonsai] play the role of Mother Nature, organic forms breaking through the vessel created by humanity for her.
With these creations, the artist considers the history handed to us, a narrative of both China and Japan, two nations that have been mastering the art of making various forms of earthenware since pre-dynastic times. To this day these art forms hold an important place in Asian culture and have greatly influenced European pottery.
Émeric Chantier deconstructs porcelain vases as a representation of industrialisation. Human’s artistic creations, cracked, overwhelmed and fragmented by an unstoppable force. At the turn of the 20th century, the Japanese and Chinese industrial [and later technological] revolutions would also pay significant influence towards Western industries. Industrialism is without question, humanities most significant creation and the greatest catalyst to climate change.
French artist Émeric Chantier invites us to heighten our awareness and imagination through his animal and human and botanical sculptures. Choosing subjects that we can identify with, his work does not want to be moralistic but challenging, reflective and meditative to the intrinsic link that unites humanity’s generational history with nature. Whether the viewer observes with meticulousness or in their entirety, Émeric Chantier’s sculptures lead each of us to question ourselves: how do we as the human race position oneself in relation to nature? This proposition introduces a dialogue that speaks to the relationship between humanity, mineral and botanical form.
Continuing to design sculptures that are both organic and mineral. Vegetating objects forming parts of the body. Sculptures that he creates “treating them” with miniature plants. Beautiful and strong, evoking the heart, sometimes dreamlike, the artworks by Émeric Chantier question the condition of our existence. This corpus of plant and mineral sculptures highlight the introspective feeling perceived by humanity to face the origins and the future of nature.
By immersing in model-making Émeric Chantier transcends the moulding and collage techniques to explore industrial materials such as polyurethane foam, or natural elements like earth, moss and wood. Through this process, the sculptor tries to awaken the collective consciousness of humanity, with an invitation to rethink its place in the environment. It is through a dualistic vision that the artist carves and questions the consumer society with positive and hopeful, subliminal notions. In his work that is not meant to be moralizing but provoking, one can experience the meditative and reflectiveness of the intrinsic link between the generational histories of Humanity to Nature.
“On the one hand, my work is linked to the nature and the relationship that man can have with the latter, a confrontation with our origins, an ecological awareness of the preciousness of our mother nature, the source of all life, a subject that is important to me and should, in my view, be part of a collective consciousness. On the other hand, it seems important to me not to fall into a moralizing discourse, simply to illustrate the entity of the living and confront it at times with the productions of man. These sculptures take the form of anatomical parts of man or his creations that furnish his daily life so that he can identify with them without yet becoming a target. These are simple poetic narratives that must speak for themselves. It is also important to show a work of meticulousness and quality, so that the observer after reading the general form, can approach it and forget it in order to get lost in a universe swarming with life.” Émeric Chantier.